Harvesting Blenheim Apricots



Yesterday, my mom came over to our house to help me harvest my first batch of Blenheim apricots of the year from the above pictured tree in our yard. We both love the taste of tree ripened Blenheim apricots. They seem to be the most flavorful apricot. My parents have a 30+ year old Blenheim apricot tree in their yard that is still producing quality fruit.

My tree is now 7 years old. Its fruit are large and have a very good flavor. They are much better tasting than the grocery store apricots I have eaten. Although, we both think that the fruit from my parents’ 30+ year old tree is much sweeter than the fruit from my young tree. Their apricots taste like a dessert. My guess is that a mature apricot tree has a greater ability than a young tree to generate sugars and produce sweeter fruits.

I have had to build a virtual fortress of bird netting around my apricot tree to keep the birds and squirrels from eating the fruit. So far, I have lost only a few fruits to the wildlife. I wrapped bird netting around all sides of the tree up to the upper weak branches and then tied it tightly around the bottom with string leaving no openings around the sides or the bottom for the squirrels to crawl through. I loosely draped the netting through the high branches to keep the birds from flying inside. This netting technique has mostly kept the bird and squirrels out.

A few days ago, I peeled away the netting to pick a few apricots and then didn’t reseal the netting tightly enough after I was finished. By the time I was back inside our kitchen, a squirrel had already found its way inside the netting. After shooing it away, I wrapped two extra nets around the tree for a total of 3 nets. There hasn’t been any more breaches since then. The two week period when apricots are ripening in late June and early July is the most important time to net. That’s when the birds and squirrels seem to to go after them the most.

July 02 2009 11:47 am | Apricots